Eels Again - Fishermen Net Fines and Bans for Illegal Elver Fishing
And in direct contrast to the recent good news story about the release of elvers by the Westcountry Rivers Trust:
The Environment Agency report that:
Reginald Daldry and John Osmond, both of Gloucester were found guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates Court of elver fishing offences. Mr. Daldry was charged by the Environment Agency under Section 27B(1) Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 for fishing for elvers without a valid authorisation. Mr. Osmond was charged with five counts of breach of his dip net authorisation conditions under Section 27B (1) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
They were each fined £300 and ordered to contribute £600 towards prosecution costs, along with a £15 victim support surcharge, in addition to being ordered to forfeit their fishing equipment. Their elver authorisations were revoked and they are banned from holding an authorisation for a further three years.
The court heard that on 21 March 2012, Environment Agency Enforcement Officers were carrying out a routine compliance check patrol on the River Severn from Gloucester to Sharpness. The purpose of the patrol was to check fishing authorisations, to ensure that fishermen were compliant with authorisation conditions, and to ensure that no unlawful fishing was taking place. During the evening patrol, the officers witnessed two men in a boat operating two large square nets with wire ropes attached, which held the nets in place on the front of the boat.
After landing their boat they were approached by Environment Agency Officers and their equipment was seized immediately’ the two had men caught 1.8kg of elvers that had a market value of approximately £396.
Speaking after the case, Environment Agency Lead Enforcement Officer Bill Burleigh said:
“Fishing from boats causes the greatest impact on elver stocks. The method is unlawful and we’ve made great progress in eradicating what has been a serious problem in the past. Elvers caught by boat have a high mortality rate. As elvers are sold on across Europe it is important that they are in the best possible condition.”
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